Hong Kong Trademark Registration
Trade mark registration in Hong Kong
What is Intellectual Property?<br />
Intellectual property (IP) is of vital importance to business. IP is the meaning commonly given to a group of separate intangible property rights including trade marks, patents, copyright, designs, plant varieties and the layout design of integrated circuits. Intellectual property is important to our daily lives: The brand-names logos on clothes like T-shirts, articles in the newspaper, TV programmes, pop songs, cinema films movies and fashion design all have a strong connection with intellectual property.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a sign that distinguishes the goods and services of one trader from those of others. Typically a trademark can be words (including personal names), indications, designs, letters, characters, numerals, figurative elements, colours, sounds, smells, the shape of the goods or their packaging or any combination of these. A sign must be capable of being represented graphically in order for it to be registered as a trademark.
Difference between Trademark Registration and Company Registration
A business or company name registration is not an indication of trademark rights.
A company name registration at the Companies Registry or a business name registration at the Business Registration Office (Inland Revenue Department) is not the same as a trademark registration at the Trade Marks Registry.
A Hong Kong business registration certificate or a certificate of incorporation/registration does not by itself indicate that the business or company has rights to use its name or a trademark in promoting or dealing in goods and services.
A trademark registration is a guarantee of trademark rights registered in Hong Kong.
Why register a trade mark?
Registering your trade mark means that you have the exclusive right to use the trade mark in relation to the goods and services for which the mark is registered. If other traders use it in Hong Kong, China in relation to the same or similar goods or services without your consent, they may be liable for infringement of your mark and you may take legal action. If you do not register your mark, it is harder to prove that you are the ‘owner’ of the mark and as such your protection is limited.
Before you apply
There are a number of factors which one should consider before applying to register a trade mark.
- Is it distinctive?
Does your trade mark stand out from the crowd? Does your trade mark, be it a logo, word,
picture, etc. clearly set your goods and services apart from those of other traders?
- Is it a description of your goods and services?
If your trade mark describes the goods and services or shows the quality, purpose, quantity or value of them, then we are likely to object to the mark.
- Is it a well known term in your line of business?
If your trade mark is a well known term or representation in your line of business
- Other people’s Trade Marks
Has someone else already registered or applied to register the same or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods and services?
- Trade Mark search
It is important to conduct a search of the trade mark register to see if your trade mark is
already registered or has been applied for by another trader.